ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. - Concerns are growing as the number of dead laughing gulls found on Bay Area beaches increases.
Over the past few days, nine were found dead on Sarasota's Siesta Key and Lido beaches. At least 23 were discovered on Passage Key, off Anna Maria Island, Tuesday.
"Right now it's a mystery as to what it is," said Ed Straight, the president of Wildlife Inc., a rehab center in Bradenton Beach.
Out of the nearly two dozen birds found scattered across the grass and sand on Passage Key, only one survived and is being cared for by Straight and his team of volunteers.
"It's the only one they found still alive," said Straight, who is unsure of what may be behind the mysterious rash of seagull deaths.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed it is aware of the issue.
While some speculated red tide could be to blame, state scientists say there are no detectable signs of the toxin in the area.
According to Straight, who has been rehabbing wild animals for 32 years, the cause may be a viral or bacterial infection, like salmonella.
FWC is asking anyone who comes across a dead or sick seabird to contact them as soon as possible.